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:: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 ::

Defining the Terms "Theory" and "Thesis":

Though I have utilized these terms in this manner before, I have never explicitly set them forth in writing prior to my most recent essay. Quoting from that source, I want to provide here definitions for two key terms of discourse: the definition of a theory and the definition of a thesis. Without further ado, here they are within the context of the introduction to my most recent essay:

[W]hen one is dealing with a theory, they are dealing with both abstract notions as well as coordinating dynamic principles of action. One of the author's intellectual mentors once defined a theory as "a set of non contradictory abstract ideas (or as philosophers like to call them 'principles') which purports to be either a correct description of reality or a guideline for successful action."...

Having established a working meaning of the term theory, it is worth noting also that the word thesis according to the Merriam Webster Thesaurus is related to the word theory. (Both of them having a foundation in the term assumption.) A good way of looking at this in the current context is to view a thesis as "an abstract principle or proposition to be advanced and maintained by argument" and a theory as incorporating a thesis -or a series of theses -with a guideline for successful action. The reason for this is because a theory by its nature must involve either (i) a correct description of reality or (ii) a guideline for successful action. For this reason, any viable theory involves several principles if you will which work together.

Or another way of looking at it would be to consider that a theory is being conceived of a series of non contradictory coordinative theses or points of presupposition. When viewed in this light, a theory clearly is only as strong as the theses which support it. [I. Shawn McElhinney: The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard Introduction Section (c. 2004)]

:: Shawn 10:47 AM [+] ::


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